In addition to graduate school admissions tests, admissions essays are another important component of the graduate school application process. For most graduate programs, how well an applicant ‘fits’ with the program or department is one of the most important requisites next to skills and capabilities. Of course your grades from undergrad and scores on your admissions test will play a big role in your application, but the admissions essay is a unique way to highlight your capabilities, strengths and talents. These are a few of the things that will influence the admissions committee, but keep in mind to make everything your own. What you write should also reflect your personality and individuality because personal qualities are equally appreciated. 

  • What you might add to the program. This relates what you might be able to contribute during class discussions, program related activities, and the work you might publish or produce while you are there. 

  • What you will get from the program. Here it is important to communicate to the selection committee how you will benefit from the classes and curriculum offered and how the program fits into your long-term professional goals. 

  • Experience. This can come in the form of work, study abroad, volunteer, research, undergraduate course work or any combination of all of them. Ideally, your experience and your future goals will fit with what you would learn during your graduate studies. 

  • That you have done your homework. For many programs you will be required to work with a faculty member to complete a final thesis or project. If you can say that you took the time to research the faculty, their interests and perhaps even contacted the faculty member, you will be able to demonstrate the thought you put into your decision to apply. 

  • Writing and communication skills. As basic as it seems, your personal statement is a direct reflection of your ability to write and communicate ideas effectively, so make you have someone else review your work! 

Writing an impactful graduate school admission essay can greatly improve your chances of getting accepted to a graduate program. Here are some additional tips for creating an amazing essay:

  • Use your Voice: Write from your personal experience. There is no one else like you in the world. Your experiences, your triumphs and hardships are unique. Use your uniqueness to differentiate yourself from graduate school applicants.  

  • Relate to your audience: When writing your graduate entrance essay keep your reader in mind. The more your essay connects to the reader, the greater your chances of having the reader relate to your experience. If you are able to have the admission board relate to you through your essay, the greater importance your essay will have on your overall admission. 

  • Set a Schedule: Putting together a graduate admission essay takes time. The first draft you write is never the best, so give yourself enough time to write as many drafts as possible. There is nothing worse than being rushed to turn in an admission essay because you ran out of time. Give yourself enough time to make corrections and seek advice from others.   

  • Don't do it alone: Seek advice from the people around you. Have someone read your essay before turning it in. Writing tutors and classmates can be vital resources in helping you make your essay stronger and more impactful.  

With enough time and preparation, you can create an admissions essay that will move the admission board and increase your chances of being accepted to the graduate school of your choice.

For more information about the essay writing process, visit the following site: Purdue Online Writing Lab



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